- Please ensure that your child’s packed lunch is as healthy and balanced as possible.
- Please ensure that your child has a sufficient lunch including a sandwich (or sandwich substitute e.g. sausage roll or pie, pasta or rice dish, wrap, vegetables and dip or cheese and crackers) a yoghurt and or a piece of fruit and a non-fizzy drink (eg squash, milk, water or fruit juice) to sustain them through the afternoon.
- In keeping with ‘Healthy Schools’ children are allowed to have one treat item in their packed lunch e.g. a small bag of crisps or a small cake or biscuit (non- chocolate.)
- Fizzy drinks and sweets are not allowed
- Water is always available if children have not brought their own drink
- Lunches should be packed in a clean ‘tupperware’ box or lunch box/bag clearly marked with your child’s name and class.
- Children should keep their fruit for morning break separate from their lunch.
- Lunchboxes/bags should be placed on the class trolleys.
- We ask children to take home any uneaten food so that parents can monitor what their child is eating.
Ideas from the Department of Health:
A healthy packed lunch should include:
- A good portion of starchy food, e.g. wholegrain roll, tortilla wrap, chapatti,pitta pocket, pasta or rice salad;
- A portion of lean meat, fish or alternative, e.g. chicken, ham, beef, tuna, egg, beans or hummus;
- Plenty of fruit and vegetables, e.g. an apple, satsuma, handful of cherry tomatoes or carrot sticks, small tub of fruit salad or small box of raisins;
- A portion of semi-skimmed milk or other dairy food, e.g. reduced fat cheese, yogurt or fromage frais;
- A drink e.g. fruit juice, semi-skimmed milk, yogurt drink or a bottle of water.
This checklist is adapted from the Department of Health’s Food in Schools Toolkit.
Ideas from British Nutrition Foundation:
Fruit and Vegetables (Pick 1 -2 for the lunchbox each day and try to vary these throughout the week!)
- Any piece of fruit such as apples, satsumas, clementines, pears, peaches, nectarines, berries, grapes, pineapple, melon, mango, lychees, kiwi fruit, bananas, raisins, dried apricots, prunes or dates. Remember that these can be fresh, tinned, frozen or dried.
- Supermarkets often have packs of chopped fresh fruits, individual packs of dried fruits and child-sized pots of fruit in fruit juice. It is a good idea to have some of these available for those days when you don’t have much time to prepare. However, be aware that these can be more expensive. An alternative option is to make some of your own over the weekend, for example placing a small handful of mixed dried fruits into some food bags or sealed containers to store in the cupboard.
- Vegetable sticks such as baby corn, sugar snap peas, celery, carrots, peppers and cucumber. These can be served alone or with a tasty dip such as tzatziki, hummus, salsa, cottage cheese or a bean dip.
Dairy items (Pick 1 for the lunchbox each day – aim for a different one each time)
If you’re not including a dairy food in the main lunch item (e.g a salad or sandwich), there are lots of tasty dairy items available for children that will make interesting additions for lunch boxes. Why not try:
- Mini cheeses such as cheese triangles, cheddar sticks or cheese strings
- A tube of fromage frais or yogurt
- A drink of milk or a milkshake (or for vegans or those who can’t eat dairy foods, calcium-fortified soya and nut drink alternatives)
- A smoothie made with milk or yogurt
Having a healthy lunch does not mean not allowing any treats. Healthier treats could include a slice of malt loaf, banana bread, fruit jelly or a fruit scone.
Get your kids involved in baking some healthier cakes and savoury snacks for their lunch boxes. Here are some ideas that the kids may like (these can also be enjoyed by adults too!)
- Banana cake
- Plain, fruit or cheese and chive scones
- Apple, apricot and sultana squares
- Fruity flapjacks
- Bag of plain popcorn (you could try this dusted with cinnamon or mixed with dried apple or banana chips)
- Oat cakes with cottage cheese
- Savoury ham and cheese muffins
Sandwiches, bagels, wraps and pittas
If you have a few mouths to feed, you could do ‘mix and match’ sandwiches – make a few different flavours, divide into two or three and put one of each flavour in each lunchbox. This works well with bagels or sliced bread .Mini wraps and mini pittas make tasty alternatives to traditional sandwiches.
Experiment with different fillings such as:
- smoked mackerel mixed with some salad leaves, chopped tomato, cucumber and some Greek yogurt, lemon juice and black pepper
- tuna, red pepper, spinach and sweetcorn with a small amount of reduced fat mayonnaise
- for a tasty vegetarian option, why not try a falafel wrap with grated carrot, lettuce leaves and some reduced fat hummus or tzatziki?
Pasta salads can be quick and easy, especially if you are having pasta for dinner the night before – just cook a little extra and keep aside for lunchboxes. Here are some suggestions to get you started, but remember that pasta goes with most things, so experiment with what you have in the house.
- Tuna pasta salad with peppers, sweetcorn, tomato, spring onion and some reduced fat mayonnaise.
- Pasta with cooked frozen peas, broad beans and sweetcorn with lemon juice, black pepper and some cheddar cheese (great for those days just before you need to do the shopping again!)
- Pasta with ham, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and chickpeas (or leave out the ham for a tasty vegetarian lunch).
Homemade mini pizzas
These are really simple and delicious and you can get the children involved too. Spread some tomato purée and some fresh or dried herbs onto some pitta breads and top with vegetables such as onion, sweetcorn, peppers, courgettes, spinach or rocket, some cooked chicken or ham and some grated cheese or slices of mozzarella. Grill until the cheese is melted. Cool and place in the lunchbox in the fridge for the next day.
Frittatas are a great lunchbox item that can be enjoyed by all of the family. You can add any vegetables, beans, pulses, meats and cheese that you like and it is a great way to use up any leftovers. Try:
- sweet potato, chickpea and spinach
- baby potato, tomato and goats cheese
- pea, mint and courgette
- ham, rocket and mozzarella
Tasty potato salads and potato cakes
Potato salads are delicious and filling and make use of any leftover potatoes. Have a go at making a smoked mackerel and potato salad with spring onion, cucumber, mushroom and sweetcorn. If your child likes spicy food, substitute the mackerel for a tin of sardines in spicy tomato sauce or replace with some jerk chicken. For a vegetarian twist, substitute the mackerel for some tofu, Quorn or beans (broad beans, butter beans, cannellini beans, black eyed beans, kidney beans and chick peas will all work well).
Potato cakes are an excellent lunch following a roast the day before. Why not get your child involved in mashing any of the leftover potatoes and vegetables and shredding the leftover meat? Simply combine the ingredients and add a whisked egg and some black pepper, grill or fry in a small amount of oil until piping hot and leave to cool, ready to pop in the lunch box. Alternatively, check out this recipe for potato cakes with sweet potato from the NHS Change 4 Life website.